Happiness is a by-product of truth

Is our search for happiness concerned with the change of our experience or is it rather of experience changing us? Our reflex is to try only to change the world around us, making it amenable for happy thoughts rather than working on those thoughts directly. We really believe that it’s an unchanging self that must act on what surrounds it rather than a change of being itself as the measure of any progress. Our mentality is finite and mechanical – the “do this now to get that later” model.

The human impulse is still to dream that external circumstances are the dominant source of happiness – despite all the evidence, our observation and what we at heart know to be true. Manufactured happiness that comes from a cause, from outside in, is found to be counterfeit, provisional and unreal. Real happiness can only move from inside to out.

We may find that the more we plan pleasure ahead the less it appears. The future – that toy of the mind – is always a chimera, a lure to drive us onward. In daily life of course some planning is necessary to function but joy is more likely if it finds us without anticipation.

As we move through life our activities in various modes may or may not bring us “success” in the conventional view of society but the far greater need is to calibrate accomplishment internally, to remember what our real work is. We may even find that an engagement with this inner world is often ultimately more effective in changing the outer situation too. 

A realization that goes against our whole way of living is that our happiness depends more on a capacity not for achievement but for truth.

Insight as art and science